Insert Kanto Column intro paragraph version #12… oops, I mean, um… Welcome back fearless explorers to yet another adventure through the wondrous world of Kanto. For the past few months, I have been exploring Pokemon Blue’s Kanto week by week, taking it one town at a time, trying to see the world as a tourist to better understand why this place means so much to me. I’m still battling and getting badges (I need to progress, after all), but the focus is the location itself. This week, fresh off the vastly underrated Silence Bridge, we head to Fuchsia City. If you’ve been with me from the start, glad to have you back and sorry that I force you through the same explanation each week. If you’re a brand new reader, hop aboard and feel free to check out the journey so far right here. With that, let’s dive in.
As with other towns with major attractions in them, I will be forgoing the Safari Zone for now to better soak up everything it has to offer next week. Take that away, and you realise that while Fuchsia City is one of the larger areas in the game, it’s also one of the most empty. I don’t mind that so much, though. I’ve always thought of Pokemon as a fairly action-packed game. The pacing slows down with how long some battles take, but plot-wise, there’s always something happening, and it’s usually quite loud. Playing it with new eyes and taking my time, I’m appreciating the quiet solitude the game affords you if you explore at your own pace, rather than racing between gyms and objectives.
It feels a little bit like those roadside towns you find splattered across America, those places that wouldn’t exist without something else tying them together. You know the kinds I mean. The diner and the few caravans around The World’s Largest Ball of Twine, the tiny Teec Nos Pos town by the Four Corners. Fuchsia City is designed for those folks just passing through – many players hit up Saffron City first, while Fuchsia is also your exit to the ocean, and beyond it, the Seafoam and Cinnabar Islands. You can even Surf your way back to dear old Pallet Town if you so wish.
There’s not too much in Fuchsia City beyond the Safari Zone, but that’s kind of the point. I’m not sure if it suits the realm of a poisonous ninja, but there’s a sense of peace. Fuchsia City is the crackle at the end of an old vinyl break-up album. It’s the credits on a Criterion movie. It’s that old familiar warmth, tinged with just a sheen of the melancholy we need. Without the bitter, the sweet ain’t so sweet. It’s the midway point of your journey, but it feels like an ending. It feels like a place nobody ever stays at for more than a night, or else they stay forever.
There’s a petting zoo for Pokemon, these wild creatures that otherwise wander wild and free. There’s an old man who offers you a fishing rod, even though the bridge here sees you pick up a better one. There’s a charmingly pathetic old man who has lost his dang teeth. There’s so much heart to Fuchsia, more than the bustling cities of Saffron or Celadon, more than the claustrophobic village feel of Viridian or Lavender. It’s closest to Vermilion, and before playing this way I would have had them at opposite ends of the spectrum.
I don’t think it suits Koga and, while I find his gym an interesting use of the Game Boy’s technical limitations, I’ve avoided writing about gyms for the most part and I’m going to keep it that way. It doesn’t feel part of the Fuchsia experience. I’ve gassed up my tank, I’ve shaken the dew off the lily, I’ve had my fill of coffee in the cracked red leather diner booth, and Mabel has brought me over a slice of pumpkin pie. Now I just need to see The World’s Largest Ball of Twine and I’ll be off and on my way.